Twenty-five wild and free-flowing rivers and Canadian Heritage Rivers will receive additional oversight under the Canadian Navigable Waters Act. The rivers have officially been added to the List of Scheduled Waters by Transport Canada. This action prioritizes rivers of significant ecological and cultural value and is a step forward towards safeguarding these national treasures.

“Each of these rivers supports a rich diversity of wildlife, including species designated under the Species at Risk Act and climate resiliency,” said Elizabeth Hendriks, vice president of freshwater at WWF-Canada. “These rivers are significant to the cultures of communities, providing spiritual connection to place, and supporting local economies. This announcement is a step forward towards safeguarding them. We look forward to the continued work that Transport Canada has planned to safeguard all our waters.”

The amended Canadian Navigable Waters Act, which came into effect in August 2019, proposed an opportunity to safeguard more of Canada’s major rivers. Based on WWF-Canada’s recommendation, Transport Canada introduced a proposal to expand the existing list of waterways that receive additional oversight. The proposed additions include 25 wild rivers and Canadian Heritage Rivers, including six of the ten rivers WWF-Canada prioritized in its wild and free-flowing rivers report.

WWF-Canada engaged its supporters to share feedback to Transport Canada in support of making this addition official. Almost 3,400 WWF supporters sent emails to ensure these rivers get the due diligence they deserve.

WWF-Canada works to safeguard Canada’s longest wild and free-flowing rivers. These waterways sustain vibrant communities of wildlife by providing species migration routes, clean pollution out of habitats, and help ecosystems adapt to a rapidly changing climate. When we protect navigation rights—for instance the ability to paddle a canoe down the river— we incidentally offer some protections for a larger ecosystem.


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